Salad doesn't have to be special, but it does need some toothsome texture.
I'm compelled to make this point because on Tuesday, the New York Times suggested that we all cut up four avocados and call it salad.
"This salad is both dead simple to make and highly luscious," Times food columnist Melissa Clark wrote. "It gets a velvety richness from the avocados."
Oh, from the four avocados, you say?
In fairness, Clark does suggest making this a side dish or an appetizer, or "the foundation of a light lunch, with some crusty bread and tangy cheese on the side."
But I'm sorry: Cutting up four avocados in succession (in this avoconomy!) is not what I do when I want to have a "light lunch." That’s something a malfunctioning kitchen cyborg would do, or a reasonable human being who is about to make guacamole that does not have any peas in it.
Based on the comments, it appears that the recipe was published almost four years ago, and re-shared as a fun summertime recipe. But this resurfacing of older content (no judgment!) came at an especially unfortunate moment, as a heat wave submerged NYC in a triple-digit heat index—not an ideal time, I would argue, to slurp down the culinary equivalent of an $800 down comforter. Even a caprese has some bite.
There is a chance I am being close-minded, that the combination of olive oil, red wine vinegar, garlic, jalapeno, parsley, capers, and four fucking avocados, is in fact pure alchemy. Maybe if l delicately fan out the 300 avocado slices, and artfully spoon the oily slurry on top, as the disembodied hand does in the video, I will feel satisfaction when I bite down on a piece of green butter with some tiny leaves smeared on it. (In fact, I am magnanimous enough to even try this salad and report back.)
More likely though, I know that while my salad skills are meager, they are sound enough to require some roughage and more variety. Toss some spinach in there, open up a can of chickpeas, oh yeah are there any crumbs left in the package of Wasa crackers? Just pour that sweet dust all over these leaves kissed with balsamic and oil and whatever else is sitting on my counter. A salad can never have too much crunch.